Published on October 10th, 2014 | by tanya0
Five Minutes With…Lafe Low
Have you noticed some new faces on TrekAlong lately? These authors are a part of the Keen Expert Author Panel—a group of Wilderness Press and Menasha Ridge Press authors who will be blogging and answering questions about all things outdoors. Lafe Low, Jordan Summers, Laura Randall, Laurie Ann March, and Tammy York are the cream of the guidebook crop, and we are excited to bring their expertise to you!
So without further ado, come spend five minutes with Lafe Low:
“Getting to know you, getting to know all about you…” Sorry, couldn’t resist. Trust me, reading that is far better than actually hearing me sing. My singing sounds something like a garage door opener arm wrestling with a garbage disposal. Moving right along—to better acquaint you with me and my compatriots on the Keen Expert Authors Panel, over the next several weeks we’ll present a quick introduction as we respond to several questions. Everyone gets the same questions, so check back to see what my fellow guidebook scribes have on their mind. So without further ado:
Why did I decide to write a guidebook?
Is temporary insanity an acceptable answer? Actually, when I was first approached by Menasha Ridge Press (now Keen Communications) about the possibility of writing a guidebook to campgrounds in New England, I was immediately intrigued. I’m somewhat of a creature of habit, and I knew signing on to explore the 60 best campgrounds in New England would lead me to different places. And indeed, that was the best part of researching “Best Tent Camping: New England,” now in its fourth edition. I found new favorite places, and had a reason to do a ton of camping. One fun fact: while doing the research for the first edition, I put 55,000 miles on my car that year.
The forthcoming “Best Day Hikes on the Appalachian Trail,” which I am researching now, appealed to me for the same reason. When I have a day to hike, I often return to my favorites. I knew this project would take me way out of the way. And indeed it has. I’ve had some incredible hiking adventures this summer—and have racked up a zillion miles on my current vehicle.
What are my favorite things to nosh on when I’m on an adventure?
I have outdoor friends who make every meal an adventure. My lifelong friend Dan Quagliaroli brought more varieties of food and spices to a camping trip in Yosemite than I would typically encounter in three months of cooking and dining on my own. Another intrepid explorer Peter Tamposi recently declared, “You have a finite amount of meals in your life—might as well make them count.” This as he crafted fresh bruschetta and grilled filet over a camp stove before we climbed Katahdin. I was happy with grilled chicken and raw carrots.
I may not typically be as fancy, but I have my tricks. For a perfect post-hike or post-paddle dinner, I’ll prepare something in advance that I freeze. Then it’s often thawed and ready to cook when I’m done. Things like turkey tetrazzini or some type of Asian noodle dish are great for this treatment. This “freeze then cook” tactic is great for kayak camping.
If I could trek anywhere in the world, where would it be?
This is an easy answer. Before I am too old to enjoy it—or simply before I’m too old to pull it off—I will climb and ski the coastal ranges of Antarctica. I’ve seen stories and movies about that, and it looks epic. Skiing down those tight steep chutes with the freezing ocean right below you—oh yeah—sign me up.
What advocacy or conservation groups am I a part of locally, and why are they important to me?
I fully support Leave No Trace and the Rails to Trails Conservancy. The whole Leave No Trace ethic is beyond reproach. I always practice those tenets and share them with anyone who will listen. And the whole mission of the Rails to Trails Conservancy has always felt good to me, so I support them and their efforts to reclaim old railroad beds and turn them into trails that make more wilderness more accessible to more people.
What do I enjoy doing when I’m not outdoors?
Someone once foolishly asked me—probably in the early Fall—when I started thinking about skiing. I shook my head and answered, “That implies that I ever stop!” So I’m always thinking about skiing, hiking, skiing, camping, skiing, kayaking, and skiing. But I DO have other things that interest me, like watching sports car racing then pretending I’m racing when driving my own sports car, martial arts (I am a black belt in taekwondo, and will return to training upon completion of this hiking book), collecting and abusing hot sauces, live music (watching—not performing) and just enjoying life with my family and friends.